Exquisitely enameled with luxuriant floral sprays against a bright yellow and coral ground, bowls of this type are rare and only three closely related examples appear to have been published: the first, from the collections of the British Rail Pension Fund, the Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong, and the Jingguantang collection, was sold twice in our Hong Kong rooms, 16th May 1989, lot 81, and 8th April 2007, lot 802, and at Christie’s Hong Kong, 30th May 2012, lot 2994; the second, from the collection of the Grierson family, was sold in our London rooms, 14th November 2001, lot 104; and the third was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 5th/6th November 1997, lot 956.
From the Kangxi period dark-colored grounds adorned with vibrantly colored floral designs were favored for their dramatic demonstration of the newly developed falangcai
enamels at the palace Workshops in Beijing. These bowls were made at Jingdezhen and enameled in Beijing and inspired a variety of imperial wares made in later reigns, such as this bowl that closely follows its Kangxi prototype. A bowl of this design with a Kangxi yuzhi
mark in the Palace Museum, Beijing, is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures in the Palace Museum. Porcelains with Cloisonne Enamel Decoration and Famille Rose Decoration
, Hong Kong, 1999, pl. 2, together with a similarly decorated cup with Yongzheng mark and of the period, pl. 81.
The motif on the present bowl remained popular throughout the Qing period; see for example a Jiaqing mark and period bowl included in the Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition Enamelled Polychrome Porcelain in the Manchu Dynasty
, London, 1951, cat. no. 199, and sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 3rd May 1994, lot 214; a Daoguang mark and period example from the Ohlmer collection in the Roemer Museum, Hildesheim, illustrated in Ulrich Wiesner, Chinesisches Porzellan
, Mainz am Rhein, 1981, pl. 138; and a further bowl with a Guangxu mark and of the period, in the Weishaupt collection, published in Gunhild Avitabile, From the Dragon’s Treasure,
London, 1987, pl. 29.
The bowl has the added distinction of its association with the illustrious Sassoon family which established trading ties with the East in the early 19th century. Sybil Luna Moses Dangoor, who bequeathed the bowl to her daughter, was the granddaughter of David Sassoon (1792-1864). Based first in Mumbai, David Sassoon moved the family business to Shanghai where, by the mid 19th century, there was a flourishing Jewish community of Baghdadian origin, nearly all of whom were following in the intrepid footsteps of Sassoon whose eponymous firm was one of the most successful international trading operations in the world.